New Media Connecting Cultures Conference in Jordan Organized by Washington-Based Aspen Institute and the Jordan Media Institute

April 1, 2008  • Institute Contributor

New Media Connecting Cultures Conference in Jordan Organized by Washington-Based Aspen Institute and the Jordan Media Institute

Dead Sea, Jordan, April 1, 2008––Media executives and publishers must exercise bold leadership to foster understanding between Arabs and Americans. “New media” such as weblogs, social networks (Facebook) and virtual worlds (Second Life) provide innovative approaches to this end. This is the conclusion of the first Arab-US Media Forum convened in Jordan from March 26-28, 2008. Leading media professionals from both regions participated in the dialogue.

In their discussion, 15 U.S.-based and 15 Arab media leaders explored the opportunities presented by new technologies and new personal networks. The Washington-based Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program in partnership with the Jordan Media Institute (JMI) organized the forum on “The New Media Environment: Paths To Understanding”. It was supported by the Ford Foundation and Luminus Group with SAE Institute Amman. and Luminus Group with SAE Institute Amman.

The participants agreed to work together on projects that will increase the knowledge and strengthen the capacity of U.S. news organizations covering the Middle East and Arab affairs. For instance, American publishers invited Arab bloggers to contribute to their online sites, recognizing the need to provide stronger voice of Arabs in American public discourse. The Arab participants agreed on the need to promote excellence in Arab journalism and that civil society organizations and particularly institutions of journalism education have to be on the forefront of these initiatives.

In her Keynote Speech Her Royal Highness Princess Rym Ali announced that with the Jordan Media Institute, JMI, “a new media institute is being established in Jordan that aims to set new professional standards in journalism education in the region”.

Walter Isaacson, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute, thanked Her Royal Highness “for your wisdom and vision in creating a model for journalism excellence in the Arab World.”

The Aspen Institute, founded in 1950, is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue. Through seminars, policy programs, conferences and leadership development initiatives, the Institute and its international partners seek to promote nonpartisan inquiry and an appreciation for timeless values. The Institute is headquartered in Washington, DC, and has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River near the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. Its international network includes partner Aspen Institutes in Berlin, Rome, Lyon, Tokyo, New Delhi, and Bucharest, and leadership initiatives in Africa, Central America, and India.

The Jordan Media Institute (JMI), founded in 2007 by Her Royal Highness Princess Rym Ali, is a nonprofit institute aiming to establish an unparalleled Centre of Excellence in the Middle East that will set the standard for professional journalism in Jordan and the region at large. JMI’s rigorous programs, which feature practical training, innovative curricula and world-class facilities, will enable its graduates to consistently challenge the level of media production in the Arab world.



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